Several political parties on Sunday paid tribute to martyrs of 13 July 1931, saying the day was the watershed moment in people's struggle for restoration of their rights.
Martyrs will continue to be beacon of light for people: NC
National Conference President, Farooq Abdullah and Vice President Omar Abdullah while paying tributes to the martyrs said the day marked the inauguration of struggle of J&K against oppression and discrimination.
"The day has an emblematic importance for the people of Jammu and Kashmir as it marked the launch of wide spread people's agitation for the restoration of their due human rights," Abdullah said. "The brave men who laid their lives on the 13 July 1931 belonged to a generation of wisdom, and vision. It was them who saw in darkness and despair a vision for the forthcoming generations. They envisioned a society free from bondage, discrimination and oppression. On this day we galvanize our lives with their mission as was done by Sher-e-Kashmir all through his life."
Abdullah said July 13 was the day of assertion of J&K's identity and rights of its people. "The day marks the shift from stoicism to dynamism. It was a fight of the tyrannized against a tyrant, of the oppressed against oppressors. I pay my earnest tributes to all the martyrs who laid their lives on that day to secure a new dawn of freedom for future generations," said Abdullah.
He said the martyrs will continue to be a beacon of light for people of J&K and for the coming generations. "Every single drop of their blood is sacred to us," he said.
Omar while paying tributes to the martyrs said that July 13 marks the collective defiance of the oppressed against oppressors. "The day is the watershed moment in the people's struggle for restoration of their universal human rights. It was their valor that inspired millions of other to rise against the then despotic and autocratic regime," said Omar.
"We observe the day to reiterate our commitment to fight evil with kindness, violence with non-violence and peaceful struggle. I pay my humble tributes to all the martyrs who laid their lives for securing a dignified life to future generations," he said.
Others senior party leaders Ali Muhammad Sagar, Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, Aga Syed Rohella Mehdi, Nasir Aslam Wani, Muhammad Akbar Lone, Hasnain Masoodi and members of party's parent body, YNC, women's wing, minority cell, and others also paid tributes to the martyrs.
Changing calendars can't belittle reverence for martyrs: PDP
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while paying tributes to the martyr said "their role in J&K's freedom struggle can neither be undone nor can be forgotten."
A party spokesman said memory of the martyrs cannot be erased by changing the government calendar of holidays as they will live forever in the hearts and memories of every freedom loving democrat.
He said the martyrs laid down their lives for empowerment of people of J&K and that it was tragic that the "myopic and communal actions of the present government demolished with one stroke on August 5 all the progress that had been achieved in the last seven decades."
"The resultant chaos is now showing results which are completely opposite to what had been sold to the people of India at the time of scrapping of state constitution and special status granted by constitution," said the spokesman.
He said the PDP reiterates its commitment to the objectives of justice, empowerment and democratic rights that the martyrs laid their lives down for.
"Though the July 13 movement had originally started as a campaign for empowerment of Muslims of the then princely state it had later evolved into the most inclusive and secular movements of the pre-independence era," he said.
"We reject the undemocratic status quo imposed on us by the BJP government, which has deprived us of our autonomy, freedom and human dignity, which underpin the constitution. We demand an immediate end to Centre's denial of the political issue. Our people have endured a brutal security clampdown and the world's longest internet shutdown. Our voices have been ignored, our institutions erased. We can't afford to remain silent any longer. We must act now to restore our dignity and take charge of our own destinies," the spokesperson said.
Day marked beginning of struggle for democracy: JKAP
Paying tributes to the martyrs, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) President Altaf Bukhari said the day shall always be remembered as a turning point in the history of J&K that marked the beginning of a struggle for democracy and social justice.
In a statement, Bukhari said the heroes who laid down their lives on July 13 were etched in the memory of our people for their bravery and sacrifices given for upholding the human values which forms the core of any civilized society.
"JKAP pays humble tributes to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to pave the way for a struggle against autocracy and oppression. The contribution of the martyrs of July 13 will continue to be a beacon of people's fight for dignity and social justice," Bukhari said.
He said the historic event in J&K and its significance laid the edifice for restructuring of the whole society on the principles of democracy. "Their contribution will remain for future generations as the day laid down the basis for a new society governed by rule of law."
Bukhari said the struggle invigorated by the sacrifices of July 13 martyrs was principally not a movement against any particular clan or dynasty but against the autocracy.
"The sacrifices of our martyrs should not be allowed to be exploited by vested interests who want to create a wedge between people on the lines of region, caste and creed," Bukhari said.
He said J&K was passing through a critical stage of history and the only course left for peoples' advancement remains in a resolve to uphold the banner of democracy and unity in diversity.
July 13 will continue to inspire people: PC
In a statement, senior Vice President, Peoples Conference Abdul Gani Vakil said the valiant sacrifices of July 13 martyrs would continue to inspire people of the state to fight for their rights, dignity and justice.
"The movement against the monarchy was started and led by the people of Kashmir, who immortalised their courageous fight by rendering the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. Their valiant struggle in 1931 was a struggle against monarchy, oppression and feudal repression. Their struggle was for making a Kashmiri master of his own destiny. It was sincerity of their mission that their sacrifices are being still remembered by the people of the state with the same respect and spirit," Vakil said.
He said the "sense of servility" that a Kashmiri has been subjected to today was no different than what the rulers in 1931 did.
"Our struggle today is the same. The present day rulers have left the monarchy well behind in their unquenchable thirst to disempower and humiliate Kashmiris. We must be inspired from the spirit that was nurtured and sown by the martyrs in 1931 and resolve to rise above self to carry forward their sacred mission," he said.
Time to strive for rights of people: CPI (M)
The CPI (M) said July 13 was being remembered as martyrs day as Kashmiris struggled against tyranny and for freedom. "There are attempts by communal forces to undermine the historic significance of this day. The sacrifices of the martyrs did not go in vain and resulted in end to the autocratic rule and feudalism," said the statement.
It said J&K has a glorious tradition of societal harmony which has survived many challenges.
"Those elements who are trying to shatter the secular and plural ethos of J&K should not be allowed to succeed in their nefarious designs. Martyr's Day serves as a reminder to protect and promote the rights of people and their dignity," the statement said.
The statement said it was due to the sacrifices of July 13 martyrs which ultimately led for 'Naya Kashmir' which was notable for its humanistic and progressive view of development.
The statement said it was high time that political parties in J&K, cutting across the ideological divide, introspect as what went wrong and unitedly strive for rights of people of J&K. "That would be the best tribute to the July 13 martyrs," said the statement.
Martyrs' mission yet to be accomplished: Hakeem Yaseen
Chairman People's Democratic Front Hakeem Yaseen while paying tribute to the martyrs said the martyrs will continue to be the torch-bearers to inspire people of the state to fight for their rights, dignity and justice.
He said time has proved that people's yearning and thirst for dignity and honour cannot be suppressed by might. Yaseen said no political party should exploit sacrifices of the martyrs for their pretty political interests.
"It was their sacrifices that proved to be a turning point in mobilizing oppressed people of the state to stand against oppression and feudalism," said Yaseen.
He urged people especially youth to follow the path shown by the martyrs to safeguard their identity and honour, adding sacrifice of the martyrs will remain as golden chapter in the history of J&K.
July 13 ignited political awakening among people: ANC
Awami National Conference President Begum Khalida Shah said the bloodshed of Muslims on 13 July 1931 brought about a political awakening among people who launched a peaceful struggle for their basic rights.
"This was the beginning of the organised struggle under the leadership of Shere kashmir Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah against autocracy under which they were suffering untold miseries for more than eight decades," she said.
The ANC chief said no matter what restrictions or curbs were put in place, people of J&K cannot forget the sacrifice of their martyrs.
Shah questioned the wisdom of the "ruling class hell bent on dividing J&K on communal lines" with cancellation of Jul 13 as a public holiday in and severe restrictions imposed across the state on the day.
"No matter what, all these tactics are bound to fail. There is no place for communal hatred on this holy land. The divisive politics will meet its end very shortly with the pluralistic culture of our state standing the test of time," Shah said.